The U.S. RMBS market showed signs of slowing in the first quarter from last year's torrid pace - when year-over-year issuance increased by more than $200 billion, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial. Issuance in the first quarter reached $234.5 billion, a 15% increase over the fourth quarter's $204.4 billion, and only one more deal was completed in the first quarter than the final quarter of last year - 286 instead of 285.

Lehman Brothers managed more U.S. RMBS deals than any of its competitors in the first quarter of this year in terms of overall dollar volume, bringing 29 deals to the market that totaled $27.3 billion and an 11.6% market share. The investment bank rose from a number three position in the final quarter of 2005, when it brought 28 deals totaling $19.2 billion and a 9.4% market share. Royal Bank of Scotland Group was not far behind, also bringing 29 deals to the market in the first quarter but still came in beneath Lehman with $26.6 billion and an 11.3% market share. RBS in the fourth quarter of last year ranked fourth with a 9.1% market share earned through 26 deals totaling $18.6 billion. Bear Stearns. rounded out the top three, falling down a notch from its second-place finish in the preceding quarter but still underwriting a relatively large number of deals. Bear brought 33 deals to the market in the first quarter totaling $26.2 billion and an 11.2% market share, compared with 35 deals brought in the preceding quarter that totaled $22.3 billion and a 10.9% market share.

JPMorgan Securities managed to bolster itself from an eleventh place finish in the final quarter of 2005 to fourth place in the first quarter. The investment bank brought $17.2 billion to the market through 27 deals, raising its market share to 7.4% from only a 4.1% market share and 9 deals totaling $8.3 billion the preceding quarter. Goldman Sachs rounded out the top five in the first quarter with 21 deals totaling $16.4 billion and a 7% market share. Goldman pulled itself up from a seventh place finish and 6% market share the preceding quarter, which it earned through managing 25 deals totaling $12.2 billion.

Notably, UBS plummeted in the first quarter to rank seventh among U.S. RMBS underwriters - falling from its number one position in the fourth quarter of 2005. UBS in the first quarter managed 26 transactions that totaled $14.7 billion and a 6.3% market share, compared with the 30 deals totaling $23.9 billion that earned it a 11.7% market share and number one ranking in the preceding quarter.

(c) 2006 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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